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Another Brick In The Wall

by JohnSheridan

Are you?

We’ve been speaking with a number of organizations over the past several years, and doing some pretty cool work with some who “get” why being socially connected is good for business.  But there are far more, who find an excuse to do nothing.

Entering 2010, we’ve rounded up the Top 7 Barriers we’ve found to social media adoption.

Authoritarian
This organization is characterized by one word:  “no”.  It may be an “I’m the boss and you’re not” type of situation, indicated by gun-shy managers and high productivity problems, or it could be a particular department (IT, HR, Communications) who can rattle off endless reasons why something should not be done, and rarely (if ever), find a reason to do anything.

Apathy
Many organizations, surprisingly, simply ‘punch the clock’.  It could be because of reasons like “it’s not my job”, or “I only have x years to retirement”, or “it’s too much work”.  Conversely, the argument can be “we’re already highly successful”.  That may be true, but have you ever come across an organization that could not improve in some way?

Transparency
A good number of organizations fear letting anyone know what they are doing.  The excuse is privacy, secrecy, and in some cases, they think it’s best not to communicate or participate for fear of overloading someone with their content and/or messages.  The more accurate reality, is they fear exposing what they are not doing.

Myopia
Closely related to Apathy, you can hear the lack of organizational vision in “We’ve always done it this way”.  These are people who thought spreadsheets or email were just ‘fads’.

ROI Inertia
“Social media case study” consistently ranks in the top 5 search terms that brings visitors to our site, and we have found that this is the most common barrier of all when we talk to people. These organizations find any change whatsoever to be too risky, unless there is previous evidence from an organization exactly like theirs to unequivocally justify taking action.  Luckily for these organizations, there are endless amounts of reports available on the internet to examine.  Unfortunately for the organization however, the conflicting percentages and bar charts can keep an army of studiers busy for years.

Control
This organization wants absolute charge of their brand/message/IT/you-name-it.  An admirable and logical principle for any organization to stand by.  However, it is unrealistic and therefore, unattainable.  No matter how careful you are, how powerful you are, how much you try, you cannot completely control other humans, and what they may or may not, say or do.  Social media may exacerbate the situation, a la the Domino’s Pizza fiasco, but all you can really control, is how you react.

Failure
Success is what we all strive for, but it does not come without understanding how to improve.  And failing is the best way of all to learn.  There are countless successful people (Henry Ford, Walt Disney, H.J. Heinz, even Abraham Lincoln) who were bankrupt before they made it.  I don’t suggest you go that far, and truly wish 2010 and beyond brings you great success, but please don’t stop moving because you may fall down and scratch your knee.

So what frame of mind should you be in to avoid being just another brick in the wall?  Here’s a fabulous post from Amber Naslund, Director of Community at Radian6 to get you started.  It addresses a few of these barriers.

Does your organization face any of these barriers?

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